Present Continuous Tense

Using The Present Continuous Tense, Definitions and Examples. Follow the list for detailed expressions;

The tenses simply show the time of an action.


Present Continuous Tense indicate an action which is in progress at the time of speaking or at the present time.

POSITIVE FORM (+) :  Subject + BE ( am / is / are ) + Verb-ING

NEGATIVE FORM (-) : Subject + BE ( am / is / are ) + NOT + Verb-ING

QUESTION FORM (?) : BE ( am / is / are ) + Subject + Verb-ING

NEGATIVE QUESTION FORM (?): BE ( am / is / are ) + NOT + Subject + Verb-ING

He is working | He is not working | Is he working | Isn’t he working
She is working | She is not working | Is she working | Isn’t she working
It is working | It is not working | Is it working | Isn’t it working
I am working | I am not working | Am I working | Aren’t I working
You are working | You are not working | Are you working | Aren’t you working
We are working | We are not working | Are we working | Aren’t we working
They are working | They are not working | Are they working | Aren’t they working

Note: Be aware of the use of the first individual person ‘ I ‘.
We use ‘ I ‘ in a negative question form ‘ Aren’t I’   instead of ‘ Am not I ‘.

Common tense markers:

Currently, at present, fort he time being, at the moment, now, Look!,  Listen!, Be Careful, While/When


(1) Present Continuous Tense expresses the idea that something is happening now, at this moment.


  • She is listening the music now.
  • We are learning English at this moment.
  • My mother is cooking dinner in the kitchen now.
  • The gardener is working in the garden at this time.
  • At present, children are doing a lot of things that can not be done before.
  • She is having breakfast at the moment.
  • Look! A car is coming.
  • While you are studying, I will make a cake.
  • We are currently looking for individuals who have experience in customer service.
  • We will rent a flat but fort he time being we are staying at our friend’s house.

Sometimes Present Continuous Tense expresses longer actions not at the moment but in progress . ‘Now’ as a time marker in this situation means “this second,” “today,” “this month,” “this year,” “this century” and so on.


  • She is studying to become a science teacher.
  • We are working on a new project.
  • I am learning to play guitar.

(3) Present Continuous Tense is used to indicate that something will or will not happen in the near future.


  • You are starting work tomorrow.
  • My sister is coming with us to the party tonight.
  • I am talking to the teacher after this lesson.

(4) Present Continuous  Tense used with “always’’, ‘’constantly’’, ‘’ forever’’ expresses the idea that something  often happens in a negative sense. In other words, we use to  complain.


  • She is always talking.
  • These students are constantly complaining about everything.
  • You are always coming to work late. You must wake up early.
  • He is forever speaking. Someone should silence him.

Notice: Some verbs are not used with Present Continuous Tense. These verbs are called “state verbs”.

Present continuous tense shows that an action is done physically and visually. Therefore, abstract meaningful expressions such as abstract thinking, love, understanding, possessing can not be used in continuous (be + -ing) construction. These things are expressed by Simple Tense.


  • I am understanding you ‘ is WRONG
  • I understand ‘ is TRUE
  • He is hating Math ‘ is WRONG
  • He hates math ‘ is TRUE


Mental State Verbs:

know, realize, understand, recognize, believe, feel, suppose, think, imagine, doubt, remember, forget, want, need, desire, mean

Emotional State Verbs:

love, like, appreciate, please, prefer, hate, dislike, fear, envy, mind,care, astonish, surprise, amaze

Possession State Verbs:

have, belong, possess, own

Sense/Perception  State Verbs:

taste, smell, hear, feel, see

Other Stative Verbs:

look, seem, appear, sound, resemble, look like, cost, owe, weigh, equal, be, exist, matter,
consist of, include, contain

Some verbs can be both stative and dynamic:

But this different use also leads to a difference in meaning. Some verbs that can be used with two different meanings are given below.

(A verb which isn’t stative is called a dynamic verb, and is usually an action.)


be’ is usually a stative verb, but when it is used in the continuous it means ‘behaving’ or ‘acting’

  • you are stupid = it’s part of your personality
  • you are being stupid = only now, not usually

  • think (stative) = have an opinion
    I think that coffee is great
  • think (dynamic) = consider, have in my head
    What are you thinking about? I’m thinking about my next holiday

  • have (stative) = own
    I have a car
  • have (dynamic) = part of an expression
    I’m having a party / a picnic / a bath / a good time / a break

  • see (stative) = see with your eyes / understand
    I see what you mean
    I see her now, she’s just coming along the road
  • see (dynamic) = meet / have a relationship with
    I’ve been seeing my boyfriend for three years
    I’m seeing Robert tomorrow

  • taste (stative) = has a certain taste
    This soup tastes great
    The coffee tastes really bitter
  • taste (dynamic) = the action of tasting
    The chef is tasting the soup(‘taste’ is the same as other similar verbs such as ‘smell’)

Spelling of Verbs –ing:

1) If the verb ends with  ‘-e ‘, we remove ‘ –e ‘ and add ‘ –ing ‘ .


live         –       living
ride        –        riding
make     –       making

2) If the verb ends with consonant + vowel + consonant, we double the final consonant and add ‘ –ing ‘.

stop   –    stopping
run    –    running
plan   –    planning

3) If the verb ends with ‘ – ie  ‘, we change it to  ‘–ying’.

lie           –          lying
die         –          dying
tie          –           tying

4) If the verb ends with  two consonants, we do not double the final consonant and add  ‘–ing’.

sing – singing
wash – washing

5) If a two-syllable verb ends with consonant + vowel + consonant, we do not double the final consonant when the stress is on the first syllable and add ‘–ing’.

happen       –      happening
enter           –      entering
suffer         –       suffering

6) If the verb ends with W, X or Y or when the final syllable is not emphasized, We do not double the final consonant and ‘–ing’.

fix                –               fixing
enjoy           –              enjoying
snow            –              snowing

7) If the verb ends with  two vowel + one consonant, we do not double the final consonant and add  ‘–ing’.

keep         –          keeping
read           –          reading

8) If the verb ends with consonant + vowel + ‘-l’ , we normally double the final ‘ –l ‘ and add ‘-ing’.

However, in the United States (US) they do not double the -l when the accent is on the first syllable.

travel             –            travelling ( UK )               –                traveling ( US )
marvel          –            marvelling ( UK )              –                marveling ( US )

9) If the verb ends with a stressed vowel + ‘ –r ‘ , we double the final ‘-r’ and add ‘-ing’.

refer   –        referring
defer  –        deferring

10)  If the verb ends with an unstressed vowel + ‘ –r ‘, we do not double the final ‘-r’ and add ‘-ing’.

offer             –              offering
suffer           –              suffering
whisper        –           whispering


  1. Vashdev Thadhani March 30, 2017
  2. saytanar August 12, 2017